What’s On Your Playlist?

Why, I thought you’d never ask.

I love running with music. I love switching up playlists. And I love checking out blog posts that list what other people have on their workout mixes, so I thought I’d do one of my own.

I have over 200 songs on my mp3 player and usually scan through radio stations a fair bit when I run so I never get tired of my playlist. My musical taste is all over the place and my mix includes everything from Ozzy Osbourne to The Bee Gees. I love finding songs that are unexpectedly good for running.

Below are 20 songs that may not be on your playlist, but should be. I purposely didn’t include anything current or obvious – you can check Pandora for that. These are some of my gems that are worth a try.

1. “You Really Got Me” by Van Halen. One of the best covers ever. I don’t know what kicks your ass more- the massive drumbeat, the stomping bass or Eddie Van Halen’s guitar mastery. In any case, I feel like I will just end up having a heart attack if I dare to slow down during this song.

2. “Good Feeling” by Flo Rida. You probably had this on your playlist last year and then ditched it when it became overplayed. Time to put it back on – it’s got a great, solid beat and will help keep an even pace.

3. “Daytripper” by the Beatles. Because every playlist should have at least one song by the Beatles (mine has at least 6). Great bass line and steady beat, and it isn’t too fast. You can run steady and maybe catch your breath a little bit.

4. “It’s the End of the World as We Know it (and I Feel Fine)” by REM. Try and match your steps to the frenetic beat and before you know it, you’ll be airborne.

5. “Any Way You Want it” by Journey. An oldie but goodie, and one you’ll rarely hear on the radio. They’re too busy playing “Don’t Stop Believing” for the Journey rotation. Great beat and you can reminisce about Caddyshack while you listen. Love this scene!

6. “”Rapper’s Delight” by Sugar Hill Gang. Argue if you want as to whether it really was the first rap song, but for many of us common folk, it was the first time we heard rap. Maybe you know it from old school radio play, maybe you know it from covers or maybe you know it from The Wedding Singer, but the fact is, if you have a pulse, you know it and probably cannot stay still when it’s on. Starting to feel tired on your run? Flip this baby on and just hip hop a hippie a hippie to the hip hip hop, a you don’t stop the rockin’ till the bang man woogie say up jumped the boogie to the rhythm of the boogity beat. Yeah. Do that. All the way home.

7. “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N’ Roses. Just try to run slowly to this song. I dare you. Ain’t gonna happen.

8. “American Girl” by Tom Petty. Awesome song, awesome beat. And picturing Jame Gumb hunting you down to make a “woman suit” out of your skin will get you moving every time.

9. “Hollaback Girl” by Gwen Stefani. Because any song that lyrically flips the bird at a trash talker deserves a place on every playlist. Take that, Courtney Love. From Gwen, of course. I’m not throwing anything your way. I’m scared of you.

10. “I Wanna Be Sedated” by The Ramones. The punk rock beat will most certainly not sedate you. “I’m Gonna Be Revved Up” is more like it. And you probably do not listen to enough of the Ramones in your daily life. Here’s your chance to correct that. Feel free to pop “Rock & Roll High School” into the DVD player the next time you run on the treadmill for extra credit. Hey! Ho! Let’s Go!

11. “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by Jet. My go-to when I’m dragging. Kicks my ass into gear every time. Up hills, down hills, over the river and through the woods. Love it.

12. “I Would Die 4 U” by Prince. Great tempo. Fast. Frenetic. Classic Prince.

13. “Blister in the Sun” by Violent Femmes. Don’t think about the gross lyrics and what they mean. Just channel the music and keep running. No, Colby, I’m not going to write what it’s about. Google it.

14. “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen. Because not every song can kick your ass, especially on a long run. This is a soft place to land – great music, steady beat, not too loud or too fast.

15. “Seven Nation Army” by White Stripes. I love this song for hills. It’s not very fast, which is good because I cannot run hills very fast. And the heavy backbeat is enough to get me up any hill even when my legs can’t.

16. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana. Helps me kill it. Every time. And VH1 didn’t vote it the Number One song of the 90’s for nothing. I remember where I was the first time I heard this song and knew something in the music world was a-changing. Do you?

17. “Touch of Grey” by The Grateful Dead. There aren’t many Dead songs that would work on a running mix, but I’m oh-so-glad I found one.

18. “Peace Frog” by The Doors. Been on my playlist since 1989 (excuse me – it was a “running mix tape” back then). And it ain’t going anywhere. Ever. Blood on the streets. Keep running.

19. “Viva la Vida” by Coldplay. Beautiful and melodic. Fast beat but the sounds of the strings are a little gentler on the ears than songs with a strong guitar and crashing drums. Gotta give the ears a rest sometimes.

20. “Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)” by Us3. OK, so the jazz-rap movement in music never really took off. It’s still a great song and has a groovy, groovy, jazzy, funky beat that is great for running.

And one final song for all you Bostonians and Red Sox fans out there – “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond, of course. A playlist must-have for all members of Red Sox Nation. It’s the bottom of the 8th and the Sox are winning…CRANK IT UP!!!


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